1 Akikree

My Shadow Essay

This is an essay that I wrote last year in my senior level Composition Honors class in my junior year. Writing some college essays were class assignments, which I did. I have since updated it, but I have not given it much attention as I am preoccupied with the rest of the Common Application and the supplementary parts of the colleges I want to go to. My main concerns is that I may not have updated every part of it, and I have 54 extra words, so I need to trim some fat. So here's the prompt I chose and the essay:

Prompt: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

The Greatest Issue of All

How often do video games inspire life-changing decisions? For most people, not at all, but for me, it has happened on three separate occasions. The first muse was learning to play the flute, inspired by Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of TimeŠ, a game that uses music to solve puzzles. The second was setting my career path to a computer programmer, inspired by video games of all typesŠ. However, the third and most important epiphany of all made me realize the enemy of all of humanity: themselves.

The moment came while playing, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4Š, when a character, who was a lot like me, had all of his dark secrets revealed by his Shadow, his inner self. As I saw this, I realized that most of his dark secrets were also my own. So, I asked myself, "Would my Shadow say the same thing? How could I defeat it?" Thus, my struggle began.

As time went on, I knew this would be a tough struggle, I felt like I was boxing an invisible opponent. The changes I would have to make to prove my Shadow wrong would require years of severe self-discipline. Nevertheless, I had taken a step forward in the right direction; I knew where my Shadow's power came from. I had realized the root of my Shadow's strength: loneliness.

I have known the pain of isolation for quite some time, ever since 4th grade. Loneliness is the one pain I cannot stand, the hurt that gives my Shadow strength. However, getting rid of such pain is easier said than done. The me that socializes with those around me is itself a persona, a façade. My true self is one of a stereotypical nerd, someone who relates better to machines than people. Making my true personality into my façade may be something impossible for me or anyone to do.

Several years have passed now since I first learned about my Shadow, since my struggle began. I know everything about him now, his strengths and his weaknesses, and I have won. I know now that he has been with me as far back as I can remember, I know now that I do not need to be surrounded by people in order to fight off his greatest weapon, loneliness. All I need is a small group of close friends who I can count on to pick me up when I fall down. My Shadow is I and I am him, and through him I have obtained the strength and knowledge to live my life. My Shadow is not my enemy; he is my friend.

But why did I bother trying? Why not just accept my true personality and lose all attachments to my emotions? The answers are simple; I plan to go into computer programming, an industry full of emotionless people, and having a friendly personality will help me stand out from the rest. However, that is not the true reason why I take on this task; it is because I do not want to be an emotionless self-centered person. I wish to become someone who people will remember fondly and love. That is why I tackle the impossible and take on my Shadow. That is why I faced the biggest issue that anyone can have, themselves.

there are few grammar errors.
How often do video games inspire life-changing decisions? For most people, not at all, but for me, it has happened on three separate occasions. You should replace it by they.

My Shadow is I and I am him. I remember that verbs should connect accusative, so it should be revised as my shadow is me

I think this essay is outstanding. It demonstates your personal concern, isolation, since 4th grade. It illustrated the importance of this issue on you, and how you tackled with it, how you conquered it, how you viewed it. So generally, it is good

Later I learned that the psychologist Carl Jung suggested (as A.A. Milne and I must have known instinctively) that when we’re about seven we separate from and then bury or repress whatever parts of us don’t seem to be acceptable in the world around us. According to Jung, these unacceptable parts become our shadow.

If we’re shy and withdrawn, it’s our shadow who’s doing flamenco dances on a table in a nightclub. If we’re always doing good turns and being obedient teenagers, it’s our shadow who’s sneaking out the window at night and coming back muddy and hung over at dawn. If we’re rebellious, disobedient and procrastinating, it’s our shadow who’s on the honor roll.

Laura, with long blond hair, a health food, vegetarian diet and a hand-built house in the pines, discovered her shadow dresses in tight black leather, wears spike heels, has straight black hair, red lips and black nail polish. She smokes cigarettes through a long, metal cigarette holder. Another friend who dresses in baggy sweats has a persnickety shadow in tailored business suits.

I meet often with my shadow. She’s a statuesque Greek goddess who sometimes brings me messages through a cool and unavailable grey cat. I’ve taken the more boring role of wife, mother and responsible citizen (though my daughter tells me not to worry, I’m weird enough).

To become more fully who we are, it’s a good idea to invite our shadow to speak now and then. In the meditation/visualization I practice, I talk with my shadow most evenings about the next day. I’m disorganized and she’s the master planner. She knows how to give me free time, which I rarely allow. And I try to spend Thursdays letting her inform me and often take me shopping. She’s more extravagant than I am.

Once in Santa Monica she urged me to buy an outrageously expensive ocean green, ripply dress like the one she wears, Greek leopard straps. She wanted me to wear this to a high school reunion, but I didn’t have the courage. Here’s a poem I work to her shortly after our shopping trip,

My shadow wears

leopard shoes

ocean dress

leopard hat

and she knows

the order of things. Her hair

in green vines

and she lives

to drive men wild,

they walk babbling into the sea.

The mousier I act

the more men she drowns.

My shadow is a grey cat

who makes lizards drop

their frenzied tails

and makes me

wear her



Since then my shadow has come closer. I’m listening and we’re usually friends. I just shut my eyes and ask her to appear. Sometimes if I’ve neglected her, she seems negative or angry until I begin to listen. I ask her what she needs from me. Lately she’s been telling me to wear white. She likes me to dance. I need to ask her where and when. Often she wants me to shut doors and get to bed by ten to read. She likes to help me cut my writing. She always reminds me to breathe more deeply. She wants to be on the cover of this book in black, leaping.

Recently my shadow has been asking me to follow her through a rocky valley without looking back. Last week she showed me how to dance me how to dance a little jig along the way. She’s dressed in white herself in what appears to be a bridal gown. I think she wants me to wed her, the disowned half of myself, and begin to experience the unknown: the feeling of being whole.



Find a quiet place, sit down, shut your eyes and ask your shadow to appear. Your shadow may be angry, weak, sad or frightened because he or she hasn’t had a chance for expression. When you bring your shadow to consciousness and begin to meet his or her needs, the figure’s appearance will probably change.

  • Begin a conversation with your shadow. If you’re willing, invite him or her to become part of your life.
  • Describe him or her. Not the changes in appearance as your conversation continues.
  • Ask what your shadow needs from you to have a positive role in your world.
  • Where can you meet? What would your shadow like you to do together?
  • Make a date to meet with your shadow once a week or, if you prefer, every day at a certain time. Let your shadow pick the time and place.
  • Write all this down.
  • Let your shadow write a poem.



As writers, we are sometimes guilty of censorship.  Not of censoring others, but of censoring ourselves.  We write what we think others want to read, not what we really think or feel.  Writer Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge writes about this in her book poemcrazy.  One way that she thinks about this self-censorship is as her shadow.  She says that we hide parts of ourselves that we think will not be accepted; they become part of our shadow-selves.  ”To become more fully who we are, it’s a good idea to invite our shadow to speak now and then,” she writes (77).

What does the voice of your shadow have to say?  It’s time you give your shadow voice.


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